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mation systems (HIS), PACS and document management systems, through to data migration and onto new hardware, HSV offers a comprehensive solution specifi- cally designed for healthcare en- vironments. It even helps shrink backup windows by reducing the amount of data to be replicated. Here’s how it works: First, the HSV management software identifies and char- acterizes the data. Then each data type is stored on the most appropriate hardware as best be- fits the needs of the healthcare organization.

Structured data, such as that generated by the HIS, is data- base driven and may reside in MUMPS, Cache, MAGIC, Oracle or SQL. RIS (radiology informa- tion system), LIS (laboratory information system), EHR and accounting systems typically fall into this category, as well. Structured data can comprise as much as 30 percent of a hospital’s overall data. Since it is updated frequently, this data is allocated to primary disk storage, where it can be quickly accessed and replicated on a regular basis to meet the organization’s disaster- recovery requirements.

Unstructured data is located in discrete files outside of da- tabases; good examples are of- fice productivity suites, such as word processing documents and spreadsheets. Often, multiple copies of each file are generated by multiple users. Unstructured data also may be audio and video files or photographs, such as a patient driver’s license stored for ID purposes. Over time, these files can balloon into many terabytes (TBs) of data that can extend the data backup window beyond reason.

Semi-structured data is gen- erated by PACS and ECM (en- terprise content management)

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systems. Both maintain a database of information (structured data) that references often large quanti- ties of discrete files (unstructured data). A PACS database may run on Oracle or SQL, and its size may be relatively small in relation to the many TBs of DICOM images that it references.

How it works:

Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV) allows data and storage to be harnessed across different healthcare systems

is automatically backed up for security purposes, but since the data will not change, it’s removed from the ongoing backup process. By reducing backup volumes by as much as 80 percent, HSV trans- forms disaster recovery from a strategy to an ongoing, achievable process.

• Unifi es storage of patient records and other healthcare information into a common, shared repository, eliminating storage silos and removing unnecessary duplica- tion

• Secures data with built-in encryption and authentication • Enables search and rapid retrieval of records with data indexing • Optimizes use of storage with de-duplication, compression and tiered archive to migrate data among storage types

• Protects data with backup, replication and disaster-recovery solutions • Preserves data with options for long-term archive on lower-cost, tertiary media

In hospitals, 70 to 80 percent of data is unstructured or semi- structured. After 14 months, the majority of this data will never be recalled or used again. Yet, by law, the hospital is required to maintain that data for the life of the patient or longer.

HSV recognizes these re- quirements and deals with large volumes of unstructured and semi-structured data accord- ingly. Consequently, this data is archived progressively onto lower-cost storage media (disk or tape), where it can be readily accessed if needed. The archive

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

Finally, HSV helps hospitals go green. It moves large volumes of data off expensive disk storage, which needs constant cooling and backup, to archived storage hard- ware, which is less expensive and requires minimal maintenance. By getting a handle on the majority of immutable data stored by the hospital and moving it to archives, it also puts a damper on frequent disk storage purchases.

There is a way to effectively manage healthcare data; it’s an architecture called healthcare stor- age virtualization – and it’s ready to be implemented now.

HMT November 2010 7

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